GOOD things came to those who had waited at Rodney Parade on Saturday.

After 25 years in the maze of non-league, from the Hellenic days in Gloucestershire of part-time football, to this, the headline story in League Two on the opening day of the campaign.

An occasion seemingly intrinsically about nostalgia, pomp and history will be remembered much more for thumping good football and a fantastic match atmosphere. What more could you ever hope for?

Not even the play-off semi-final victory over Grimsby that booked County’s place at Wembley and brought the curtain down on the season at Rodney Parade last term could compare to Saturday for the sheer vibrancy in the ground.

From the 96-year old Ron Jones to the children attending their first games who will hopefully never know non-league football for their hometown team, excitement coursed through the veins on Saturday and it reverberated around Rodney Parade.

With due respect to Accrington, they were only half the battle for Justin Edinburgh’s side who also had to battle the expectation created by their second coming in the élite 92.

With the Premier League a fortnight away and the Gareth Bale transfer saga only able to fill so many column inches, the Exiles have dealt with more media interest in the club in the past fortnight than for their two Wembley trips combined.

From the pubs and schools in the city to the sports desks in London, more eyes than ever before are focused on County and that hasn’t always been a help, but they responded magnificently.

Boss Edinburgh talked of embracing the occasion and the Exiles did that and more, dominating Accrington after an even opening 25 minutes where both teams spurned half- chances.

Newport enjoyed more of the ball in that exchange, yet it was their defenders who stood out, Byron Anthony in particular capitalising on a very impressive pre-season.

He picked up the baton from the injured Max Porter last season in becoming County’s most consistent performer after New Year and his anticipation and awareness averted danger more than once.

The visitors twice troubled County, but Anthony and Adam Chapman repelled the danger.

Chapman has a reputation as a consistent defensive midfielder, but Edinburgh is determined to utilise the signing from Oxford as a box-to-box midfielder.

One of four debutants, all of whom enjoyed fine afternoons, Chapman was exceptional, showing more than glimpses that he can become the creative spark Newport’s midfield has lacked since Lee Evans departed.

He was involved in virtually everything positive from the Exiles, playing a key role in both goals that gave them a deserved 2-0 advantage at the interval.

His mighty throw on 24 minutes was poorly dealt with, falling perfectly to Harry Worley, who instinctively volleyed home left-footed.

Worley had only ever found the net three goals in his entire career, but he’s now etched in history as the Exiles’ first goal-scorer in the Football League since they’ve been an AFC.

It was just the start as County grew and grew, a splendid move just before the interval giving them some extra comfort.

Chapman was the architect, his fast feet and clever ball freeing Christian Jolley, who crossed perfectly to give Chris Zebroski a debut goal.

Zebroski and Jolley’s pace and tendency to work the channels was a potent threat throughout, and again came up trumps ten minutes after the re-start, Jolley collecting from Pipe, and half a dozen touches and a few dummies later, curling exquisitely past Ian Dunbavin.

County’s fans roared about being top of the league and yet the appetite for goals didn’t diminish, Newport’s wing-backs combining to create a fourth.

David Pipe provided the deep cross and Andy Sandell the header back across goal, but it was Zebroski who brought the house down, turning and swivelling to smash home a splendid volley, the fourth left-footed goal of the afternoon.

Ex-Manchester United man Danny Webber grabbed a consolation for Accrington after a rare lapse at the back for Newport, but the Exiles could’ve won by more, Danny Crow twice denied after coming on from the bench.

He was one of six subs – County’s squad size arguably still a cause for concern – but such procrastinating seems inappropriate on such an extraordinarily positive occasion.

This was a glorious second coming for Newport and may well be enough to secure a number of extra supporters for the long haul this term.

County (5-3-2): Stephens, Pipe, Yakubu, Worley, Anthony, Sandell, Minshull, Porter (Willmott 69) Chapman, Zebroski (Washington 86), Jolley 8 (Crow 77).

Subs not used: Hughes, Jackson, Bittner.

Booked: Zebroski.

Accrington (4-4-1-1): Dunbavin, Murphy, Liddle, Joyce, (Clark 67), Aldred, Richardson, Webber (McCartan 81), Hatfield (Carver 60), Hunt, Wilson, Atkinson.

Subs not used: Winnard, Miller, Mingoia, Dawber.

Booked: None.

Referee: Darren Drysdale.